Monday, January 02, 2012

Goal Setting

Confession: I've never been very good at setting goals.

I'd like to think I'm better. Every year, I start out with the best of intentions: things I think I want (or need) to accomplish, which I interpret as goals. And then, at the end of every year, I tend to look back, wondering which (if any of them) I accomplished and where the year went anyway. So last night, as I sat trying to work over my 2012 goals with varying results - mostly "What am I trying to really accomplish?" - I started going through my collection of books that deal with subject.

Enter Goal Setting 101 by Gary Ryan Blair. It's a short pamphlet really - 40 pages or so - but actually quite as useful as books three times its length. Mr. Blair has a short and succinct definition of a goal, something that works well for my simple way of working. A goal is defined as "An end toward which you direct specific effort" and consists of:

1) An accomplishment to be achieved.
2) A measurable outcome.
3) A specific data and time to accomplish the goal.

That's it. And that's pretty easy.

It took me a bit of time to adjust myself to writing them in the fashion. I'm used to doing them more in the form of what I'd like to do, not as a specific 3 step outcome. But what I found as I continued down this path is that things started to be put in a fashion and sense that I could understand. I not only identified what I wanted to do (I always seemed to do that), but also what that would actually look like (the outcome) and what time frame I wanted to accomplish it in.

I'm starting small this year doing this process (another issue I have, a separate one, is maybe trying to put too many things on my plate). And I've today to work on the ones that were not so easy for me to do last night, the ones that are either more personal or have greater implications.

Still, at least for this moment, I begin the year feeling more confident that I will see some of the results of the end of the year I want to - more confident than I have in years.

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